If you’re about to graduate from college or have recently done so, you must have wondered what would be your average college salary after graduation and what your degree will be worth in terms of future earnings.
Due to the fact that more than half of recent graduates have sizable debts (plus interest) to repay, most college students prioritize salary and benefits when looking for employment.
On average, people with college degrees make much more money than people without a degree, and the potential salary rises with each additional degree.
So here in this article, we will have a detailed overview of the Average College Salaries. We will also discuss the major stats like an average salary by degree, majors, demographics, and the type of institution.
Let’s get started with some general stats on average college graduate salary.
(Source: NCES, Statista, NACE, Real Estate Witch, Bureau of Labor Statistics)
Average College Graduate Salaries: General Statistics 2023
The average salary for graduate degree holders depends on the skills they hold and the knowledge they have.
There are many factors that affect the overall statistics, including the area in which the graduate lives, the college from which he took the degree, and the cost of living.
- In the year 2023, the average salary for graduate students is $55,260 per year.
- It is observed that technical majors earn the highest salary after graduation, with an average of $87,989 per year.
- Since 2018, the average salary for fresher graduates has increased by 8.5%.
- The most common salary expected from graduate students is $85,000.
- After the technical majors, Petroleum technicians have the highest package salary of $80,000 yearly.
- The median salary offered to college graduates is around $47,000.
- According to the statistics, between 2020 to 2021, the average salary for graduate students increased by 2.5%.
- NACE stated that in 2023, employers are planning to hire 31% more employees who are college graduates than they hired in 2022.
- Based on the most recent data, the projected average salary for this year is to be more than $50,000.
- The Real Estate Witch noted that undergraduate students of all the institutions and majors overestimated their basic salaries by 88%.
- NACE found that the projected salaries can increase by 5.4% for the science and math degrees and would decrease by 14.8% for the humanities degree.
- Students who have completed some college courses but have no degree earn about $46,755 yearly. This group has an average unemployment rate of 5.5%.
- Bachelor’s degree holders earn $1,334 weekly.
- Degree holders have an unemployment rate of 3.5%.
- The average salary offered to the master’s degree holder is around $81.867.
- The unemployment rate was seen for master’s degree holders was 2.6%.
- The survey states that more than 50% of students are stressed about finding a job in the current situation.
- According to the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce, graduates with bachelor’s degrees earn $2.8 million on average.
- The national average salary for college graduates has been steady over the past years at around $50,000 to $60,000.
Let’s have a look at the median annual salaries of US college graduates over the years.
Average Salary by Degree
Among the degree types, on average, the more education you get, the more salary you will earn. It is important to complete your degree because the highest increase happens only if you have a bachelor’s degree rather than an associate degree.
Here is a breakdown of the salary by degree type.
- The graduates with some associate degree earn, on average, about $46,124 annually.
- Many of the students with an associate degree are likely to get a bachelor’s degree to get the additional education to add to the average salary of $18,772.
- The associate degree holders seem to have a lower unemployment rate than those with a high school education, by 2.7%.
- Bachelor degree holders get paid around $64,896 annually.
- Students with master’s degrees get paid an average of around $77,844 annually.
- The unemployment rate for master’s degree holders is 2%.
- Master’s degree students earn $13,000 more than bachelor’s degree students.
- Similarly, a student with a professional degree gets paid around $96,772 annually.
- Professional degree holders have an extremely low unemployment rate which is 1.6%.
- Whereas doctoral degree holders get paid an average of about $97,916 per year.
- Doctor degree holder earns about $20,000 more than a master’s degree holder.
|Type of Degree||Median salary yearly||Unemployment Rate|
|Less than high school||$29,800||1.1%|
|Some college without degree||$39,900||2.0%|
(Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics)
Average Salary by Major
The range of the salary also depends on the major subject you take to hold the degree. There is a wide range of salary packages offered depending on what subject you study for graduation.
- Business maths engineering, health science, and computer engineering are shown to have higher average salary packages.
- Health science, Business, Engineering and Computer science majors are seen at the salary at between $52,000 and $71,000 per year.
- The average salary ranges for these subjects are between $52,000 to $71,000 per year.
Here is a detailed structure for the highest-paying professions and the projected average salary.
Need and the demand for the skills are also the factors that affect the average salary to enter in the job market.
|Highest Paying Professions||Average Starting Salary with a bachelor’s degree.|
|Math and Sciences||$66,760|
There are some professions that pay a lower starting salary than the national average.
|Lowest Paying Jobs||Average Salary|
|Art and Music Education||$45,613|
|Drama and performing arts||$44,538|
|Visual and Performing Arts||$42,465|
|Early Childhood Education||$39,097|
The above data shows the average salary offered to the different types of majors and subjects. There are various industries also that offer a wide range of salary packages.
- Technology subjects are referred to as the high entity in the US economy.
- Students from a technology background with bachelor’s degrees earn an average of $59,642.
- Students with a master’s degree in technology background get paid around $75,433 yearly.
- The students with marketing as a special subject start their job with an average salary of $52,988.
- Master’s degree in marketing can jump the salary package to $86,318.
- Health majors are likely to earn an average salary package of around $66,440 yearly. (This includes doctors to assistants)
- Business studies are likely to have lower salaries which are around $60,000.
- Financial jobs pay around $55,609 for a bachelor’s degree, and a master’s in the finance profession pays around $70,957. These jobs include consulting to owning a personal business.
Average Salary by Demographics
Demographical factors are also a key aspect while getting paid. Age, Gender, and Race can affect the average salary of college graduate students. Here we will have a look at some demographic stats.
Generally speaking, wages increase as you age, peaking at about age 55. They then start to decline after that. Average salaries by age for all students, not just those with bachelor’s degrees, are as follows:
(Source: U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics)
|Age||Median Annual Salary|
|16 to 19||$29,432|
|20 to 24||$34,684|
|25 to 34||$49,920|
|35 to 44||$58,604|
|45 to 54||$59,904|
|55 to 64||$59,540|
|65 and older||$52,416|
As per the data from Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce, it is seen that college graduates who study STEM disciplines earn greater wage growth over time as compared to those who pursue other fields.
(Source: Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce.)
|Type of Major||Median Annual Wages, Age 25-34||Median Annual Wages, Age 35-44||Median Annual Wages, Age 45-59|
|Arts, Liberal arts, and humanities||$42,000||$57,000||$60,000|
|Teaching and serving||$39,000||$47,000||$51,000|
When talking about gender, the average salary figures reflect the majors and careers.
- It is seen that men get paid a high salary as compared to women with the same degree and majors.
- The median average salary of males who graduate in 2021 is around $64,023.
- Females who graduated in 2021 had an average starting salary of $52,695.
- The average salary for nonbinary students who graduated in 2021 was $50,272.
- The average salary earned by a male who has a bachelor’s degree is $64,022.
- The average salary of the females who have graduated is around $52,266.
- The average salary of nonbinary candidates who have a bachelor’s degree is $45,099.
- Statistics say that men with a bachelor’s degree get paid around $900,000 more than an individual who just has a high school education.
- Men who have a master’s degree make $1.5 million more than those who have a bachelor’s degree.
- While a woman with a bachelor’s degree gets paid $630,000 more than a woman with a high school level education.
- The average salary earned by a woman with a master’s degree is $1.1 million more than any other degree.
- Male students with college or associate degrees are likely to earn around 1.9% more in 2021 than the previous years.
- This change rose faster for women than men in 2021.
Below is the complete breakdown of salaries earned by males and females in 2020 with education degrees.
(Source: College board)
|Degree type||Average salary earned by Males (25 and older)||Average salary earned by Females (25 and older)|
|Less than high school completion||$34,000||$24,500|
|High school completion||$45,600||$32,600|
|Some colleges with no degree||$51,700||$38,800|
|Master’s or higher degree||$99,600||$66,700|
There is also an ethnic factor that sometimes affects the salary offered to the graduate student.
- It is seen that native Americans tend to have the lowest average salary compared to others with an average package of $71,806.
- Asian-American degree holders have the highest median salary of $73,400.
- Graduate students who have visas to study in the US have the highest median salary package of $71,806.
- The multi-racial graduate students have the third highest median salary offering of $58,102.
- White students who get a job after a college degree are 60% which is the highest of any race.
- After graduating, 53% of Native Americans find employment.
- The employment rate is 51% for African Americans, Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders, and Hispanic Americans.
- Multi-racial students who are graduates have 56% of the employment rate.
- Similarly, Asian American students who have a graduation degree have an employment rate of 55%.
- The 44% of students with a degree are more likely to continue their education than students from other ethnicities or demographic groups to do so.
|Race/ethnicity(age 25 to 34)||Associate degree average yearly salary||Bachelor’s degree average yearly salary||Master’s degree or higher average yearly salary|
|Two or more races||$39,610||$49,250||$59,240|
(Source: National Center for Education Statistics)
- Over 62.7% of white graduates are employed after college.
Let’s have a look at the Graduates who are employed after college by Ethnicity.
|Race||Graduates employed after college|
Average Salary by Educational Institution
- The students who hold bachelor’s degrees from private institutions get paid a median salary of $60,353 per year.
- The students who have graduated from public college have an average salary of around $58,145.
- The graduates from private colleges with master’s degrees have an average salary of $76,883 per year. (2021)
- Public college students with a master’s degree get paid an average salary of $69,818. (2021)
The salary package also depends on the prestige level that the institute holds. There is much differentiation in the data about the basic average salaries of those who have recently graduated from prestigious colleges or institutes.
- MIT i.e, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, is ranked 6th greatest in the US. The graduates who hold a degree from MIT get paid the best average salary after 10 years of enrollment which is $91,000.
- 22% of undergraduate students from MIT get jobs in their field of study.
- The second-best institute in the US is Harvard University. The graduates from Harvard university earn a basic salary of $87,000 after 10 years of enrollment.
- The students from Georgetown university get paid an average salary of $83,000.
- Similarly, around $ 80,900 average salary is earned by Stanford university after 10 years of enrollment.
- The University of Pennsylvania students get offered the $78,200 salary package after 10 years of enrollment.
- The graduates from the California institute of technology are likely to earn a median salary of $82,900.
- The students who have a graduate degree from Carnegie Mellon University earn a median salary of $74,600.
- Thomas Jefferson university students who have a graduate degree get paid a median salary of $73,000.
- Over 17% of recent graduates and students expect to earn around $85,000 upon graduation.
- According to the survey from ThinkImpact, 50% of the student respondents are stressed about finding a job in the current conditions.
- Among the respondents in the survey by ThhinkImpact, 39% were freshman and sophomore students.
Average Salary by Region
- With a median pay of $62,260 in 2020, the Mid-Atlantic region has the highest base salary for college grads. In 2020, there were 90,182 graduates in this area.
- The Far West region, which has an average pay rate of $61,841 among 84,762 graduates, and the New England region, which has 32,536 graduate degree holders earning a median starting wage of $61,676, followed closely behind it in terms of average pay.
- The lowest average pay for college graduates in 2020 is $50,737, and it is found in the Plains region. This year, 40,466 people graduated in this area.
- With $53,822 and 94,510 students, the Great Lakes region has the second-lowest average starting salary, followed by the Southeast with $54,742 and 131,930 students.
- At 66%, the Plains region has the highest percentage of graduates in employment.
- With 52% and 53% of degree holders employed after graduating from college, for the West and Southeast region.
- New England comes in second with 65%.
Final Thoughts: Average College Graduate Salaries (2023)
Your potential salary is crucial when searching for your first job after college.
Nevertheless, you should perhaps take into consideration your capacity for personal development, your interests, and the general work-life balance you anticipate.
As we see, there are many factors that affect the average salary. You can consider all these points and go for the highest-paying jobs in the US.
I have shared detailed stats on the average college graduate salary. If I have missed something to mention, then let us know in the comment section below.
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